What I Saw While Picking Flowers

Frog on the edge of the pond

I slowly walked along the edge of the pond looking to see if I could spot a frog before it jumped into the water.  They’re only recently back.  I saw two or three jump when Zinnia went swimming two days ago.

Either I got lucky or this is the same frog that didn’t seem to be afraid of me last year.  She never moved, and let me take her picture.

I’m beginning to think of it as Turtle Alley.

I went into the back pasture to pick flowers in for Jon when I saw the turtle.  She was along the same path as the turtle I saw last year laying eggs.  Maybe even the same turtle?

I wasn’t surprised to see her, just delighted.

The snail on the turtle shell

And she wasn’t alone.  A snail was hitching a ride on the turtles shell.

I didn’t intent to go into the woods, but the path that Mike cut over the bridge needs to be walked on to be kept low.  I know the deer and other animals are doing their part.  I see their footprints in the mud.

So off we went, Zinnia, Fate and me holding a small bunch of flowers.

We didn’t get far, just  up the hill when I saw it.  It looked like a stick or a leaf folded on itself, hanging by an all but invisible silk from a young Hawthorn tree.

It was in constant motion, spinning, bouncing and turning.

The closer I looked the more I saw, but it was only about an inch and a half long.   At the end attached to the silk, it had  six tiny spiky things coming out of it,  like a tiny toothbrush.

The kind of  movement it makes reminds me of holding a pendulum over the palm of my hand.  Being uncertain if I’m making it move or something else is.

I try to focus my camera on it so I can see it better, but it moves too fast.  I want to stop the jiggling, so I can get a closer look, but the longer I watch it the more sure I am it’s alive.

I think that maybe it’s some kind of insect emerging from a cocoon.

Now I feel like I can see it changing.  And I wonder does it look different because it’s changing or because the more I look at it, the more I see.

Now I’m sure there is a face and two small feet on the end furthest from the tree.  And suddenly my eyes are doing what I want my camera to do. Blurring the background and bringing what I am looking at into sharp focus.

Suddenly I can see it very clearly, every detail even the gradations of color from dark brown to pale sand.   I know it’s a caterpillar.

Just to be sure, I want to step away and see if when I come back it is noticeably different.  So I walk toward the little waterfall and notice that the flowers are drooping in my hand. They need water but I’m not ready to go back to the house.

So I stop at the old garbage pile.

It’s a small hill of buried bottles, an old metal milk pail, a bed spring and a broken grinding stone.  I pull one of the bottles that is sticking halfway out of the earth, leaving behind a vibrant green moss lined hole. I unscrew the plastic cap and fill the bottle with water from the stream, and put the flower in it.

Then I head back to the hawthorn tree.

The caterpillar is still there, bouncing and spinning.  And I realize it’s not emerging from a cocoon, but spinning one.

The flowers I picked from the pasture in the bottle from the garbage dump

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